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Duncan Faults Leaders For "Uninspired" Fiscal Response

Former county executive Douglas M. Duncan takes local and state leaders to task in a column that appeared in Sunday's Post.

Duncan faults elected officials for relying too much on the federal stimulus package to cope with budget problems instead of confronting fiscal challenges head on. Duncan does not offer specific solutions, but urges his former colleagues to level with residents and start making tough choices:

"It's time to be truthful to the public and acknowledge that government's capabilities must be reshaped for some time to come."

He asks, "Can (elected officials) decide a program is no longer affordable and then cut it entirely out of the budget?....Can they redesign services to face a new economic reality?"

By Ann Marimow  |  February 17, 2009; 1:33 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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I appreciate Doug Duncan's kind comments about the Ficker charter amendment which passed this past November to give homeowners some property tax relief.

I wish he had paid closer attention to the 1994 Ficker amendment which received 49.6% of the vote. That question would have reduced the property tax revenues by the amount of increase in the piggyback income tax when the piggyback was raised from 50% to 60% of the state income tax.

In FY 92, the county received $328 million in piggyback income tax revenue. By the time the piggyback tax was raised 20% to 60%, with Doug's support, county piggyback revenue was $606 million in FY 98 when the county budget passed $2 billion for the first time.

If the piggyback income tax had not increased with Doug's support, piggyback revenue would have been $505 million in FY 98 instead of $606 billion.
The budget increased rapidly to $3 billion in FY04 and to $4 billion in FY 08.

If that Ficker amendment had passed in 1994, or if Doug had given some weight to the losing 49.6% of the vote, we wouldn't be in the fiscal hole we are in today.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | February 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

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